What Earth’s Owner Will Do
Put yourself in his place and ask yourself, What would I do?
THE first article in this issue tells of a beautiful home you’ve provided for tenants who proceeded to ruin it. Undoubtedly, you would evict them. Succeeding articles show just some of the ruin people have brought upon the earth. Which is worse, for a family to wreck your house or for humankind to ruin the earth? If you would not tolerate tenants who wreck your house, can you not understand why God would not allow those who ruin his earth to remain on it?
This is exactly what Jehovah has said, that he will not allow this ruining of his earth to continue indefinitely. Moreover, he has set the time for halting it, a time known as “the last days.” Wars, famines, earthquakes, diseases, moral breakdown, juvenile delinquency, burgeoning crime, a me-first pleasure-oriented society with no time for God or godliness—these were the features that were foretold to characterize the “last days” of this present system. The overall effect of all of this is exactly what was foretold for it and which we now see—“anguish of nations, not knowing the way out,” and peoples everywhere “faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.”—2 Tim. 3:1-5; Matt. 24:3-14; Luke 21:25-27.
Do some scoff at this? Their presence was also predicted for this time: “You know this first, that in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his? Why, from the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.”’ (2 Pet. 3:3, 4) The scoffers are present, as foretold, and they do delight to say that all these things have happened before.
But this is not so, not to the degree that they now exist earth wide, and something more has been added which has never been before. John Oakes, former senior editor of the New York Times, identified this new addition: “The environmental crisis . . . is different in quality and degree from anything that has gone before in the history of the human race.” Jehovah God declared this additional thing as another one of the evidences of the “last days.” After mentioning Christ’s enthronement and the international turmoil, the Bible book of Revelation states that the time has also arrived “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Rev. 11:18) Men may have been willing to ruin it before, in their greed and love of money, but they did not have the power to do so. Now, however, their scientific technology has given them the power to ruin the earth and they are doing so as they greedily exploit it. And, as the prophecy also shows, it is Jehovah who will stop their destructive course.
Jehovah God did not create the earth on a whim of the moment. He did not make it to allow it to be turned into a wasteland. He acted with a purpose in view. “God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, . . . did not create it simply for nothing, [but] formed it even to be inhabited.” And it is to endure forever in an inhabited and beautiful paradise condition.—Isa. 45:18; Ps. 104:5; Eccl. 1:4.
The first man on earth was placed in the garden of Eden and told “to cultivate it and to take care of it.” Plants were to be food for all living creatures, not just man. Some plants were for beauty—how gloriously he clothed the lilies of the field! The land was to be cared for. Later, God decreed that every seventh year was to be “a sabbath of complete rest for the land.”—Gen. 1:30; 2:15-17; Matt. 6:28-30; Lev. 25:3-7.
Have people thus cared for the earth as commanded?
Regard for animals was to be shown. God calls righteous the man who cares for animals, but brands as wicked those who are cruel. His law given through Moses provided for the preservation of species—mother birds were to be spared. One was not to plow with an ox and an ass yoked together—it’s unfair to the smaller, weaker animal. One was not to muzzle the ox that treads out the grain—it has the right to eat while it works. Under that Law, domestic animals were to rest, along with their masters on the Sabbath, and men were to work to aid an animal in distress, even if this was on a Sabbath day.—Matt. 10:29; Prov. 12:10; Deut. 22:6, 7, 10; 25:4; Ex. 23:12, 5; Luke 14:5.
Are those principles followed today?
God gave instructions as to how people should treat one another. Jesus expressed it this way: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.” “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” And just as we would like to see appreciation on the part of tenants living in our beautiful home, so we should show gratitude to the Owner of the earth, Jehovah God. “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart,” Jesus said. (Matt. 7:12; 22:37-39) Interestingly, to do this you must also love your neighbor, “for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen.”—1 John 4:20.
Do we see this kind of love guiding man’s current pollution of earth’s air, water and soil? And do we see it in the calloused and indifferent and even cruel destruction that he is wreaking today upon plants and animals and peoples? And, especially, do we see it on the part of industrialists who move their operations to vulnerable third world developing nations where they can flagrantly pollute, maim and kill without any troublesome environmental regulations to curtail their rape of those lands and their defenseless people?
Finally, there is another kind of pollution that ruins the earth—moral pollution. It also calls for the ousting of earth’s tenants. When God told the Israelites to take over the Promised Land of Canaan, he was not callously removing one people to make room for another. The Canaanites were being thrown out because they had polluted the land by their gross immorality and religious bloodshedding. After listing some of these heinous crimes, God warned Israel: “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, because by all these things the nations whom I am sending out from before you have made themselves unclean. Consequently the land is unclean, and I shall bring punishment for its error upon it, and the land will vomit its inhabitants out.”—Lev. 18:24, 25.
But Israel did as those nations had done: served idols, spilled innocent blood, practiced despicable immoralities, until once again “the land came to be polluted.” And because God is impartial, Israel was vomited out of the land just as were the Canaanites before them. “Look!” said the prophet, “Jehovah is emptying the land and laying it waste, and he has twisted the face of it and scattered its inhabitants. And the very land has been polluted under its inhabitants, for they have bypassed the laws, changed the regulation, broken the indefinitely lasting covenant. That is why the curse itself has eaten up the land, and those inhabiting it are held guilty.”—Ps. 106:35-39; Isa. 24:1, 5, 6.
Just as you would not let tenants remain in your lovely home if they ruined its beauty and turned its rooms into brothels, so Jehovah will oust earth’s tenants who pollute it. Thereafter it will become a beautiful paradise home for all mankind who will appreciate it and care for it. “Just a little while longer,” sings the psalmist, “and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Ps. 37:10, 11, 29.
The earth is for all living creatures; all creation is to praise their Creator God, Jehovah. ‘Praise him, heavens, earth, sea creatures, birds, animals and all peoples,’ says Psalm 148. And the last verse of the last Psalm in the Bible sounds the glorious finale: “Every breathing thing—let it praise Jah. Praise Jah, you people!”—Ps. 150:6.
[Blurb on page 10]
‘The environmental crisis is different from anything that has gone before in the history of the human race’
[Blurb on page 11]
There is another kind of pollution that ruins the earth—moral pollution
[Blurb on page 11]
“Look!” said the prophet, “Jehovah is emptying the land and laying it waste . . . the very land has been polluted under its inhabitants”
[Blurb on page 12]
The earth is for all living creatures; all creation is to praise Jehovah!
[Picture on page 12]
“It’s my world too”